Publishers: Get More Content Shared on Social Media
We help clients think strategically about building connections with core audiences, and our advice often includes sharing content from within their industry, not only information they’ve generated on their own. After all, you can’t talk about just yourself, all the time. That’s boring. You need a good mix of news and information from yourself, coupled with news and information from other partners and industry leaders on your social media feeds.
Curation, creation and humanization should be the guideposts of a social media content strategy. Some companies and organizations try to follow the 5:3:2 rule, and it’s very helpful in thinking about how to set up the mix and interplay of industry and organizational news. For every 10 posts on Facebook or Twitter:
- 5 posts should be curated – they should be content from other sources that are relevant to your audience.
- 3 posts should be content you’ve created, that’s relevant to your audience.
- 2 should be personal, fun content that humanizes your brand.
With half of those posts are coming from other sources, you likely need to pull from a variety of publishers to keep a steady diet of news relevant to their core audiences pumping out on those social channels.
But sometimes there are problems and we can’t share some of the content we’d like to on all of the social channels. Why? Because their websites are not up to snuff. And even worse – these are all problems that site publishers could fix on their own. Here are the common problems we encounter in trying to share content on client social channels from others.
Problem #1: Publishers don’t always include images with their content. If you don’t include an image with your content, even if it’s a wonderful article, we probably won’t schedule it on Facebook. Images are just too important! No image = no share. Sometimes I’ll schedule content on Twitter without an image, but never on Facebook. Facebook used to allow us to insert an image so we could fix this problem, but right now it doesn’t let us do that.
Problem #2: The images the publisher offers don’t auto-feed to Facebook. Some websites are simply not set up to share images to Facebook. Even if an image shows up on the web page, it may not be “scraped” by Facebook.
Problem #3: The images the publisher offers look truncated or fuzzy on Facebook. This is icky. No one wants to share content that looks bad.
Problem #4: The content is password protected. Unfortunately, we find this occasionally with articles we might want to share from smaller newspapers or smaller trade associations, who are still padlocking their information gateways. It makes no sense to share their content if no one can read it.
Problem #5: The content is posted online but in a format that is difficult to share socially. We find this problem sometimes with magazine content. A publisher will have a gorgeously designed print magazine displayed in ISUU and won’t publish the article we are interested in sharing separately on their website. Or it takes a LONG time for them to publish that article individually on their website.
A few publishers may say so what – who cares if my content can’t be shared on some organization’s Facebook page. You should care. Because your competition is way ahead of you.
Unfortunately, all of these problems prevent social shares of your content. But thankfully, there are solutions.
Embrace using up-to-date technology for your site. Unfortunately, some publishers are still using older technology to run their websites. Their sites aren’t optimized for mobile users, and are not set up for successful social sharing. If this is your site, prioritize an upgrade.
If you own the website that is having problems with social shares, try out the Facebook debugger tool. Figure out what’s going on with your content and why social sharing isn’t working for your site. See this page for more advice on debugging problematic Facebook shares. If you are publishing content online, the best advice I’ve seen is to set Open Graph tags for each piece of content you publish on your site.
Publish your content so it can be shared. If you wonder why no one is reading the quality content in your magazine or the article brief issued by a trade association, it’s often because the content is not shareable. Maximize shareability and produce great content, and you’ll see improvements. You’ll also win more allies and friends online, establish more partnerships and see references and link backs to your organization or company improve.
Ami Neiberger-Miller is a public relations strategist and writer. She is the founder of Steppingstone LLC, an independent PR practice near Washington, D.C. that provides public relations counsel, social media engagement, writing services, and creative design for publications and websites (contact to discuss your project, review our portfolio, sign up for our e-newsletter). She blogs about media relations, social media, public relations, and work-family balance. Follow her on Twitter @AmazingPRMaven